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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wallace Restaurant at the Wallace Collection

Woman spent an hour of the Sunday morning in the basement rooms showing some intricate works by the goldsmith Kevin Coates. Man, suffering from back-ache, unable to stoop to look at the details of the miniatures, irritated and very worried at the thought of Woman exposed to all that gold, took a stroll in the upper galleries looking at the portraits of rather ugly gentlemen and ladies and at terrifying armoury, and couldn't wait to sit down in the comfortably pillowed, deep metal chairs of the fantastically bright (courtesy of a glass window) and spacious dining room at the Wallace collection.

There is something about satisfying first your eyes and then your palate, about eating surrounded by beauty...

We had a very decent duck terrine, accompanied by a lovely sweet sauce, clearly the work of a competent chef.

The combination of remoulade, Bayonne ham and cucumber pickles, while simple, worked and showed attention to flavour balance, and in all honesty the combination of sweetness, sourness, saltiness and umami was a pleasure on the palate.

The papillote butternut squash kept all its flavour, although we were suffering form carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms.

Luckily there was some creamy pearl barley accompanying plump courgettes, lavishly stuffed with black olives.

To finish, three cheeses, in more than acceptable conditions and generously accompanied by apples, grapes and walnuts - from a list of seven or eight we chose an Epoisse, a Livarot and a Comte D’Estive.

And a rather floury but overall good cherry clafoutis (no stones in the cherries!)

All this, plus two glasses of wine at £7.50 each and coffees, for £93. Some good pricing here. The cheeses are £10 for three piece, or £15 for five , or £7 for one. There is a set lunch of two or three courses at £22 and £25. We will not say that you can have the best fine dining lunch of your life at the Wallace, and with L'Autre Pied and Roganics so close for a Sunday lunch that's where you should head to if you are only interested only in the food. But you can be a happy eater, you can be thoroughly content and relaxed, at the Wallace. There is competence and professionalism behind those dishes, and the environment is truly uplifting.


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